ETA: why in Germany it is dynamic

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Jaguar-sat-nav-ETAETA racing made the headlines in the UK a few months ago. There was a spate of crashes blamed on people trying to beat the sat nav’s estimated time of arrival (ETA).

They should have come to Germany. Here, it’s the easiest game in the world to win.

I’m currently sat in the back of a Jaguar XJ, which is doing Britain proud by charging along derestricted autobahn at 220kmh (that’s 140mph). Laminated glass is keeping wind rush manageable, adaptive dampers are keeping body control tight.

And the sat nav arrival time is ticking off the minutes by, well, the half-minute. We made up five minutes on one straight section alone, just by speeding up to more than twice the legal limit in the UK.

This is incredibly satisfying. Whereas in the UK, rushing means doing 85mph in between the bits you’re not getting baulked (why bother putting speed cameras on the M25…), in Germany it means making proper progress.

Because the derestricted parts are so well suited to it, and because everyone else on the road knows there’ll be 240km/h Jaguars coming along any time soon, lane discipline is superb and awareness of one another is sky high. If you want to get somewhere more quickly than you first thought, you can. Simply speed up.

It’s so flexible, the game of ETA chasing evolves, into one where you choose your ETA. 13:00? Nah, I want to see Martin’s grid walk. Pedal down – 12:45 it is then.

Time’s up. We’re here, bang on time. And a quarter-hour earlier than it said at the start. Estimated time of arrival? In Germany, there’s nothing estimated about it: your right foot dictates all.

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